Bonnyrigg Rose boss David White was relieved to finally get over the line in their pursuit of the Super League title as Lee Currie’s stunning free-kick secured the point required to clinch their second league crown in three years.
Rose returned over the Forth as champions, but they certainly went about it the hard way after finding themselves two goals down to Hill of Beath at half-time.
A controversial penalty from Darren Wright and a Daniel Watt strike had the home side leading at the break, with an unease enveloping the large away support.
They need not worry, though, as Keiran McGachie’s header and Currie’s late strike saw them win the league crown – their last in the Juniors, with the club set for a switch to the East of Scotland League next season.
“We didn’t half make it difficult for ourselves,” said White, who guided Rose to the title in his first season in management.
“We found ourselves 2-0 down at half-time but, with the character we have in the squad, I knew we would create chances in the second half.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get over the line. I would have liked to enjoy it a bit more because I certainly never enjoyed that ninety minutes. Throughout the season, the players have been tremendous, everybody has played their part.
“It’s been an emotional last couple of weeks. We knew we were that close but we needed to get over the line. I would have hated to have lost and fell over the finishing line just winning it on goal difference.
“I would have liked to have gone on and won it, but Hill of Beath deserve all the credit they get because they made it really difficult for us and worked their socks off.
“It’s bittersweet in a way because you would have liked to have won it and enjoy your day. We’ve got there in the end. I don’t care how we did it, but we’ve got that point and that makes all the difference.”
Former Rose defender White replaced manager Robbie Horn when he left the club for Berwick Rangers back in September. He had big shoes to fill with Horn leading the club to the title in his first season in charge.
“It’s been a massive learning curve for me,” continued White. “The quality of the squad is there to see. It’s trying to pick the starting eleven sometimes – that’s been difficult, trying to keep the players involved. It’s been a hard season just dealing with things in management because it’s new to me, but I’ve had the support of the committee and the board, which has been great.”
Bonnyrigg led the way with their decision to apply for the East of Scotland League back in March, following in the footsteps of Kelty Hearts, who switched last season and have gone straight up to the Lowland League after winning the title and the subsequent play-off with the winners of the South of Scotland League, Threave Rovers.
Eighteen clubs have now followed Rose, with rivals Newtongrange Star the latest club to announce they will be applying.
White has set his sights on challenging for the EoS title in their first season, although that will now be more of a challenge than they envisaged when initiating their plans to move.
He added: “It’s a good way to finish in the Juniors. Next season is going to be massive. We were just looking after ourselves and the club [when we applied] and I felt it was the right move to make. There has been a lot that has happened since then, certainly the East of Scotland League is going to be a lot different next year from what it is this year. Our sole aim is to try and get beyond the East of Scotland League to get into the Lowland League and, if we can keep this squad of boys together and add more quality, then I’ve no doubts we can be challenging. The club is well-run and professional and there is no reason why we can’t go further than that – like Edinburgh City have done – and go up to that league and hold our own.”
Hill of Beath: Hall, Leishman, Kellachan, Wright, Harrower, Mitchell, Cuthbert (Smith), Patrick, Elder (Schiavone), Watt, Grierson (Denton).
Bonnyrigg Rose: B.Young, Brett, Hoskins, K.Young, Moyes, Horne (Turner), Gray, Stewart, McGachie, Wilson (Lough), Currie.